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With Goa Oppn denuded by defections, BJP set to win lone RS seat

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With Goa Oppn denuded by defections, BJP set to win lone RS seat

The main opposition party, Congress, is also planning to field a candidate. But the result of the election is a foregone conclusion.

Election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Goa will be held on July 24, as the term of the current member, BJP leader, Vinay Tendulkar will expire on July 28.

A notification regarding the election date was issued by Namrata Ulman, the Returning Officer and Secretary of Goa Legislative Assembly.

In the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly, the BJP has 33 seats (including support of five MLAs), while seven are from the opposition.

The BJP has 28 MLAs and support of two MLAs of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents.

While the Congress has three MLAs, AAP has two and Goa Forward Party and Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) have one each.

It is evident that though Congress has only three MLAs it will field the candidate for Rajya Sabha election only to restrain the BJP from electing its candidate unopposed.

Since 1987 Goa is represented in Rajya Sabha, wherein first MP was John Fernandes from Congress fold. Congress leaders Eduardo Faleiro and Shantaram Naik also got an opportunity to represent the seat.

However in 2017, BJP candidate Vinay Tendulkar defeated Congress candidate Shantaram Naik as the saffron party had support of Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and independents.

During this period (in 2017) Congress MLAs were getting attracted towards BJP and had started their political gimmicks to join the saffron party.

The BJP government in Goa has been chanting the mantra of ‘ease of doing business’, but it is ‘ease of defection’ that it has been able to promote better, with many MLAs from the Congress joining the saffron party to keep up the state’s long political tradition of slippery loyalties.

Though till 2017 Congress could elect their candidates easily with having numbers, now the same situation is in the BJP side, where they have numbers for an easy win on the seat.

Congress has lost power in the state due to the defections by its MLAs.

Since 2017, two major rounds of defections have taken place in Goa, wherein Congress MLAs have switched sides by joining Bharatiya Janata BJP. This had helped the BJP to retain power between 2017-22, and now, to become stronger.

Despite the Congress being the largest party in the 2017 Goa Assembly election with 17 MLAs, the BJP having just 13 seats outplayed the former to form the government and completed the term with full strength by welcoming Congress defectors in its party fold.

In the last term of the BJP government, in March 2017, the then Congress MLA Vishwajit Rane resigned from the party as well as an MLA and joined the BJP. He won the byelection then and became a minister in the BJP government.

In October 2018, another two Congress legislators, Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, also resigned and joined the BJP, subsequently winning the byelections.

Switching sides didn’t stop here. On July 10, 2019, Congress faced a third setback after 10 more MLAs along with Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar switched over to BJP. Kavalekar, along with six other defectors, however, lost the Assembly elections in February 2022.

The candidates of Congress who did all those exercises to garner votes and get elected, eight among them on September 14, 2022 merged into BJP.

Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Rajesh Faldesai, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes, are the eight legislators who switched parties.

In the 2022 election, Congress had 11 MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly. The BJP had 20 MLAs, but their number has now increased to 28. The party also had the support of two MGP MLAs and three Independents.

Speaking to Ajit Weekly News, senior vice president of Congress M. K. Sheikh said that in principle they have decided to fight the Rajya Sabha election, though they don’t have enough numbers.

“Our party leaders will decide about our next step in regard to contesting the Rajya Sabha election,’ he said.

However, sources from Congress informed that the leaders are reluctant to contest as defeat is certain. “But being the main opposition party BJP can’t be given an opportunity to get elected unopposed,’ sources in the Congress said.

–Ajit Weekly News

sbk/dpb


News Credits – I A N S

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